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This 1930s lakefront home in the Upper Midwest carries the name given to the dwelling by original owners: “Mona Bina.” It also needed to retain its historic charm as Union Place, Inc. brought the home’s technology into the 12st century.


This project called for the home’s system to be hidden wherever possible – and when devices like switches were visible, they had to be perform modern functions while maintaining a historic look.


The restoration of this historic lakeshore home was overseen by a design, and the biggest challenge was lighting: How did one accomplish the simple act of dimming a light when only push-button switches were “of the period?”


Union Place found a manufacturer that produced reproductions of old-fashioned switches, and wired the switches to provide both on/off function and dimming or brightening when certain switches are depressed. Different lighting settings for a variety of scenes could also be called up by marrying the switches to a separate app on a mobile device.

Another constant challenge in the home’s design was speaker placement: Union Place used speakers that integrated directly into the sheetrock (new designs provide no diminishment in audio quality, even when the speaker’s completely invisible) to provide television audio. In some instances where the speaker couldn’t be completely concealed, custom design and paint solutions rendered the speakers utterly unobtrusive. The home also features whole-house distributed audio whose sources include an audiophile-quality turntable.

Union Place had daily meetings with the client and architect, making constant adjustments to preserve the historic look of this 1930s treasure. Detail work such as custom distressing of the home’s wall plates by the builder and Union Place’s clever idea of concealing one TV in a wall of mirrors belie the grand scope of this project: In addition to whole-home audio, video and lighting systems, the team also integrated HVAC, security and access solutions into the final project.

Project Partners

Home Technology Professional
Union Place, Inc.
361 George St.
Excelsior, MN 55331
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202 Water St.
Excelsior, MN 55331
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Interior Designer
The Sitting Room
380 2nd St.
Excelsior, MN 55331
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